same issues as above and motion to dismiss granted in part, denied in part.
Vanoven claims that mineral leases obtained by the Chesapeake and BP
defendants are voidable as unconscionable contracts. On behalf of class II, Vanoven claims
that defendants have consistently underpaid royalties on their oil and gas leases. Vanoven
requests damages, including treble damages, recision of the leases, and an equitable
Vanoven’s complaint, however, does not rely exclusively on specific allegations
against particular Chesapeake defendants. Instead, the complaint alleges that the various
Chesapeake Energy defendants act as alter egos of one another in order to “thwart discovery,
shield liability, and provide an additional layer of secrecy and complexity to deter royalty
owners from obtaining full compensation.” Compl. ¶ 69. The complaint also alleges that
Chesapeake Energy uses its affiliates to manipulate oil prices, which adversely effects the
proceeds paid to individual royalty owners.
BTW, one claim in the case is that a landman was practicing law. Dismissed on the lack of supporting evidence, the court left open the interpretation that it was not "practicing law" to negotiate an oil and gas lease. The courts once upheld that drawing up contracts was a legal matter but modified the ruling after a Real Estate Broker was accused of writing contracts for sales of property.
The court suggested that Realtors could draw up pre-printed forms that were approved by lawyers. This leaves open the issue of whether an oil and gas lease modified by a landman is "pre-printed" and approved. There is wiggle room for a future case somewhere in there (i think...)